The Senate is in recess for one week and scheduled to return to Capitol Hill August 13.
The House is in recess until September 4.
President Signs Perkins Career and Technical Education Act Update
This week, President Trump signed the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act reauthorization. The measure (H.R. 2353, P.L. 115-224), the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, will become effective July 1, 2019. The purpose of the new Perkins Act is to “help more Americans enter the workforce with the skills necessary to compete for and succeed in high-skilled, in-demand careers.”
The bill simplifies the requirements states must follow when applying for federal funds and streamlines the application process for better alignment with state workforce development plans under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Congress authorized the law through Fiscal Year 2024.
For local programs, CTE funds may be used for a wide range of activities, including the following:
- Career exploration and career development activities through an organized, systematic framework, such as introductory courses or activities and readily available career and labor market information;
- Student graduation and career plans;
- Career guidance and academic counselors providing information on postsecondary education and career options;
- Professional development for teachers, principals, school leaders, administrators, faculty, and career and guidance counselors;
- Alignment with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for integration of academic skills into CTE programs to support CTE participants at the secondary school level in meeting state academic standards;
- Sustainable relationships among education, business and industry, and other community stakeholders, including industry or sector partnerships designed to facilitate the process of continuously updating and aligning programs of study with skills in demand in the state, regional, or local economy;
- Dual or concurrent enrollment programs, including early college high schools, and the development or implementation of articulation agreements;
- Appropriate equipment, technology, and instructional materials (including support for library resources) aligned with business and industry needs, including machinery, testing equipment, tools, implements, hardware and software, and other new and emerging instructional materials;
- Continuum of work-based learning opportunities;
- Industry-recognized certification exams or other assessments leading toward industry-recognized postsecondary credentials;
- Recruitment and retention of CTE program administrators and educators;
- Coordination with other education and workforce development programs and partnerships developed under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and other federal laws and initiatives that provide students with transition-related services, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- Expanding opportunities for students to participate in distance CTE and blended-learning programs and competency-based education programs;
- Improving career guidance and academic counseling programs that assist students in making informed academic and career and technical education decisions, including academic and financial aid counseling;
- Supporting the integration of employability skills into CTE programs;
- Supporting programs and activities that increase access, student engagement, and success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (including computer science) for students who are members of groups underrepresented in such subject fields;
- Providing career and technical education, in a school or other educational setting, for adults or a school-aged individual who is returning to complete secondary school education or upgrade technical skills;
- Career and technical student organizations, including student preparation for and participation in technical skills competitions aligned with CTE program standards and curriculum;
- Making all forms of instructional content widely available, which may include use of open educational resources;
- Supporting the integration of arts and design skills, when appropriate, into CTE programs;
- Where appropriate, expanding opportunities for CTE concentrators to participate in accelerated learning programs, pursuant to ESSA Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment;
- Other activities to improve career and technical education programs; and
- Development and use of program evaluations, including those necessary to complete local comprehensive needs assessments.
Currently funded at $1.19 billion, CTE funding will continue to be distributed to states through a population and income-based formula. The reauthorization allocates a minimum of 85 percent for local programs. Not more than 5 percent of funding may be used for administration; and, not more than 10 percent may be used for state leadership, pursuant to a new provision on recruiting special populations. Federal supplement not supplant requirements for grant funding are also retained in this reauthorization.
Senate Expected to Consider FY2019 Funding for Education in Mid-August
Earlier this summer, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reported their recommendations for the U.S. Department of Education’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which include proposed increases of more than $540 million above current funding levels for Title I grants, special education, school safety, career and technical education, and related programs. The full Senate is scheduled to consider its respective bill (S. 3158) for the Department’s budget during the week of August 13, in conjunction with the FY2019 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Defense. If the Senate approves S. 3158, the House may consider it this September, which would be the first time in several years that the Department of Education’s budget is completed before the beginning of the federal fiscal year on October 1.
U.S. Department of Education
Department Approves Innovative Assessment Pilot State The U.S. Department of Education approved Louisiana’s proposal to pilot an innovative English assessment under the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority, authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act. By measuring students’ knowledge of specific books, rather than texts they have not read before, the test aspires to build knowledge of facts and analytical skills. Under the pilot, five school systems (Ouachita Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, and St. Tammany Parish, as well as KIPP Public Charter Schools and Collegiate Academies in Orleans Parish) will use this new assessment format in lieu of the existing statewide achievement tests. This approval from the Department means that Louisiana now has five years to develop, pilot, and expand its use of this innovative assessment.
Federal Commission on School Safety Convenes
The Federal Commission on School Safety met again this week by making a site visit in Pearcy, Arkansas. The Commission’s meeting on “Proactively Protecting Our Schools” focused on the relationship between law enforcement and schools. An archived video of the session can be found here. The Commission is scheduled to convene again on August 7 for a public listening session in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The U.S. Department of Education will host a live video stream of the event, which will be available here. Interested parties can register here to attend the event in person.
Courtesy NSBA Federal Update - Week of August 3, 2018